( according to the Church Calendar)
1. THE HOLY MARTYR JUSTIN THE PHILOSOPHER
Justin was born of Greek parents in the Samaritan town of Shechem, later called Nablus one hundred-five years after Christ. He zealously sought wisdom among philosophers, at first with the Stoics and after that with the Peripatetics, the Pythagorians and finally with the Platonists. Even though Plato's philosophy did not satisfy him, nevertheless, he adhered to it the longest time not having anything else that would attract him more. By God's Providence an honorable elder encountered Justin who confused him concerning the philosophy of Plato and persuaded him that men cannot know the truth about God unless God reveals it and God revealed the truth about Himself in the books of Holy Scripture. Justin began to read Holy Scripture and became a thoroughly convinced Christian. However, he did not want to be baptized nor to be called a Christian until he was personally convinced of the falseness of all those accusations which the pagans raised against the Christians. Coming to Rome in a philosopher's dolman [cape], he quickly achieved great respect there as well as many followers. He was present at the martyrdom of St. Ptolemy and St. Lucian. Witnessing the tortures of innocent Christians, Justin wrote an Apologia (Defense) of Christians and Christian teachings and presented it to the Emperor Antoninus and to the Senate. The emperor read the Apologia with care and ordered the persecution of Christians to cease. Justin took a copy of the emperor's decree and, with it, journeyed to Asia where, with the help of this decree, saved many persecuted Christians. After that he again returned to Rome. When a persecution began under Emperor Marcus Aurelius, he wrote another Apologia and sent it to the emperor. A disreputable philosopher Crescens, a Cynic, out of envy accused him of being a Christian because Justin had always overcome him in all debates and Justin found himself in prison. Desiring the death of Justin and fearing that he [Justin] would somehow justify himself before the court, Crescens seized the opportunity and somehow poisoned Justin in prison. So ended the earthly life of this great defender of the Christian Faith who took up habitation in blessed eternity in the year 166 A.D.
2. THE HOLY MARTYRS JUSTIN, CHARITON, CHARITA, EUELPISTUS, HIERAX, PAEON, VALERIAN [LIBERIANUS] AND JUST
They all suffered martyrdom in Rome during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and the Roman prefect [eparch] Rusticus. When Rusticus asked: "Do you think that if you die for Christ you will receive a reward in heaven?" St. Justin replied: "We do not think, we know!" Following that, they were all beheaded in the year 163 A.D. and took up habitation in the eternal kingdom of Christ the God.
3. THE VENERABLE AGAPITUS OF THE CAVES IN KIEV
Agapitus was a doctor who practiced medicine by using natural remedies. He was a disciple of St. Anthony of the Caves. He cured people through prayer and by giving them vegetables from which he prepared bread for himself. In this manner he cured Prince Vladimir Monomachus for which Agapitus became known throughout. Being envious of this the prince's physician, an Armenian, began to slander Agapitus. When Agapitus became ill, the Armenian came to him and looking at him said that he [Agapitus] would die within three days and that if he [Agapitus] did not die, he [the Armenian physician] would become a monk. Agapitus said that it had been revealed to him by the Lord that he would not die within three days but within three months. And so it happened. After the death of Agapitus, the Armenian came to the Abbot of the Caves and begged him to tonsure him a monk for, he said, Agapitus appeared to him from the other world and reminded him of his promise. Thus, the once envious one became a humble monk by the Providence of God Who wishes that all men be saved. St. Agapitus died about the year 1095 A.D.
HYMN OF PRAISE
ST. JUSTIN THE PHILOSOPHER
Whoever belongs to Christ, that one dies for Christ,
Saint Justin, defender of the truth,
Recognized the power of Christ and expressed it,
Fearlessly turned around the entire empire
Defending the righteous; the heathens admonishing,
To the entire world, with truth shining.
He was from the city of the unbaptized where once ten lepers,
To Christ the Savior, bitterly cried out
By His word, they were healed,
And now, Justin, the leprosy of falsehood
By the power of Christ's Faith, alleviated,
As a father, he protected Christians,
The foolishness of paganism he unmasked,
To the emperors, he speaks the truth -
He was a light until the candle burned down,
Until the evil ones, his body took,
His soul to Paradise, the angels raised
That in heaven, it shines like the sun
To whom his Apologia shines,
Glorifying the name of the immortal Justin
Teaching the world, what is the truth.
No one has ever spread as much shameful slander about Christ the Lord as the Jews. Their Talmud boils over with evil and malice toward the Lord. But all of those worthless calumnies are refuted by the most prominent historian of the Jews, Josephus Flavius, rabbi and scholar who lived toward the end of the first century after Christ. Josephus writes: "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for He appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day." [Antiquities of the Jews, Volume 2, Page 45 1845 Edition]. Thus wrote a man not believing in Christ but a scholar free of prejudice and malice.
To contemplate the miraculous healing of Peter's mother-in-law:
1. How the Lord took the feverish woman by the hand and the fever left her and she served them;
2. How the Lord can cure even me of the fever of passion so that I could immediately straighten up and serve Him with my whole spirit.
About what is the beginning of wisdom
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 1:7).
If someone were to know the number of stars in the heavens and the names of the fish in the sea and the amount of the grass in the field and the habits of the beasts in the forest and would not have the fear of God, his knowledge is as water in a sieve. And before death, his knowledge [of God] makes him a greater coward than the completely ignorant.
If someone were able to conjecture all the thoughts of mankind and to foretell the fate of mankind and to manifest every mystery that the earth conceals in its depths and not have the fear of God, his knowledge is as milk poured into an unclean container from which all the milk is spoiled. And in his hour of death, his wisdom will not shine even as much as a piece of charcoal without a flame, but his night of death will make his death even darker.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." How can he who has not begun correctly, finish correctly? Whoever started out on a wrong path from the beginning must turn back and must take-up the correct beginning, i.e., he must tread with his feet on the correct path. He who does not have the fear of God cannot have the love for God. What are we talking about? He who has no fear of God has no faith in God. The greatest ascetics, those who mortified themselves and who for a period of forty or fifty years daily and nightly lived a life of mortification until death, were filled with the fear of God and these, the most sinless among mortals, cried out in their hour of death: "O God, have mercy on me a sinner!"
The fear of God is the salt of total piety. If there is not that salt then all of our piety is inspid and lax. The fear of God girds the loins, girdles the stomach and makes the heart sober, restrains the mind and flogs self-will. Where is repentance without the fear of God? Where is humility? Where is restraint? Where is total chastity? Where is patience? Where is service and obedience?
O my brethren, let us embrace this word as the holy truth: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." O Lord Almighty, implant Your fear in our hearts.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.